Saturday, April 04, 2009


Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus

Tour guide and wildlife lover, Pat Gonzalez has been making the rounds of New York City's green spaces and has come up with a jewel of a discovery--A Great Horned Owl nest!

This mama Great Horned Owl and her new bundle of joy (there is another one inside that tree that I know of) live inside a hollow of a dead tree about 20 feet off the ground. I am standing on a slight incline about 12 yards away and have my 15x zoom lens all the way out. At first, mama was all alone and nice enough to allow me to do a nice photo shoot. Then a small, white, wide-eyed fuzz-ball popped up. The only other experience that topped this was my encounter with the red-tailed hawk back in February! Enjoy.

Pat Gonzalez

Kay and Jay of Tulsa Inexplicably Abandon Their Nest
From Tulsa Hawkwatcher Sally of Kentucky--

Since yesterday morning Kay has abandoned the eggs, refusing to sit on them even when she came back to the nest. Jay did the job of sitting on those eggs all day yesterday, all night last night and well into today, until Kay started coming and then he would leave, then he would return, she'd come back and he would leave again then return, then she would come again, and over and over until neither has returned tonight as 8:30 p.m. We on the forum are sad and confused but we hope that they continue to be a strong, healthy pair and decide to nest on the tower again next year. We wish we could understand what is going on to cause this behavior.

If KJRH continues having the camera trained on the nest, I for one want to see what happens next. Also I would like to know how Kay and Jay do this summer, though people on the ground in Tulsa will have to keep watch and let us know!


Thank you Sally for your diligent updates. It is a sad loss when a nest fails. Particularly in this case when we are at such a loss as to what went wrong. I too, would very much like to be able to know how the story of this pair plays out over the coming months. But in the meantime there is a kind of grief that settles in where watching the hawks you know so well, used to be.

The first year that Pale Male and Lola's nest failed I watched the nest daily anyway, though we all knew it there could not possibly be a chance of a hatch that season. I learned many things about behavior. And as the seasons have progressed with repeated failures, it is not that I have stopped watching Pale Male and Lola, they are beautiful to watch, are were my first loves when it came to Red-tails and are very very special to me. But I have now learned to also watch other nests during a season and get to know those pairs as well. Though often focusing on the Cathedral Nest the past few years as it has the next best visibility.

Keep in mind though that sometimes watching multiple nests can also bring multiple despair as was the case in 2008. But in other seasons it can bring many different kinds of joy. As the old saying goes, one takes the bitter with the sweet. In the end, we can experience life more deeply, learn more, and become better ourselves by living both.


P.S. This is the second post in the last few hours so keep scrolling down to make sure you've seen the first of the day.


Sally said...

4/4 Jay got back on the nest early this morning but Kay keeps sending him away again. The cycle repeats. Will keep you posted.

cvinzant said...

where does pat give wildlife tours? sounds like she'd be a fun guide

Donegal Browne said...

Actually Pat doesn't do wildlfe tours per se. She does tours atop those red double decker Greyline buses. Though I understand that her wildlife work has been making inroads with other guides for inclusion in their talks atop said buses.

Carol said...

The owls you speak of in NYC must be our owls here at The New York Botanical Garden. See our Plant Talk blog post from March 31.

Donegal Browne said...


Absolutely those are the NYBG Great Horned Owls. Thanks for the link!